Some Old 8×10’s

I’ve spent a good part of my free time here at home trying to straighten up. Much of that has been looking through drawers and closets, trying to get rid of stuff that I don’t need. On one particular closet shelf I found a lot of 8 x 10 inch paper boxes. Most of these hold the contact sheets that I printed years ago, but a couple contain 8 x 10 prints made on RC paper. I used to make these so I could see how a print would look before I decided to make a larger fiber print, or simply so I had some prints to send to models.

Going through these boxes, and a looseleaf binder with similar photos, took me back in time to my earlier days of figure and black & white photography. Many of these photos I did make into 11 x 14 and 16 x 20 inch fiber prints, but a lot never got printed up in fiber, either through lack of time or because I was disappointed in the results of the 8 x 10.

Whatever was the reason, I’ve decided to share some of these image with my readers, so I just finished scanning five of them. These are all photos that I made in New Mexico in 1998. Enjoy.
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In other news, I’m continuing to turn my living room into something of a photo gallery for my photos and my collection. Yesterday I picked up the foam core order that I’d made last week, but the store still didn’t have the actual frame parts in. Rather than wait and keep guessing when to go to the store, I decided to place an order for all of the remaining frames that I want (for Phases II and III, as I call them; Phase I is already up.) By ordering in advance I have to pay upfront, but at least I know I’ll be getting them as soon as they come in.
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My subway reading of late has been the Fall 2007 issue the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. This is a quarterly publication sent to museum members, each issue having a different topic. I’ve been getting these for a few years, and though beautifully printed, I’ve never really had the time to read them. I’ve tried to remedy that recently, the first one I read being devoted to cameos in the museum’s collection.

The one I’m reading now is devoted to recent acquisitions. Most of the items described and depicted are the expected paintings and sculptures, but coming home today I read about a rather unusual item: a so-called Work Bag, made of wool and linen in England in 1669. This seemed like an odd item to be in the collection of a major art museum, but I suppose it does fit into the decorative arts category, because it’s covered with beautiful patterns and figures.

Still, the thing that got me thinking was this – the bag was made by a ten year old girl with the initials “I.S.” This is because, woven among the decorations, was written this: “I S / AGE 10 / 1669.” Just think. Could that ten year girl who lived over 300 years ago have ever dreamed in her wildest imaginings that her handiwork would one day be in the collection of one of the world’s greatest treasure houses, a veritable symbol of world culture? Somehow, I doubt it.

All that just makes me wonder what will one day happen to the artwork that I (and others) create today. Will my photos end up stashed away somewhere, never to see the light of day? Will they be dumped in the trash after I’m gone? Will I be discovered a century from now as an unheralded photographer from the past. Only time will tell – but I guess I won’t be here to find out. As I wrote last time, I met a collector in Philadelphia recently who took me to his home and showed me three of my photos in his collection, proudly displayed on his walls among his other photos and artwork, so at least my work will continue to be seen as part of that collection.

Still, one never knows. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is now the most famous painting in the world, with multitude after multitude crowding into the Louvre in Paris to see her. It wasn’t always that way, however. I once read that the painting’s former owner years back had Mona hung on the wall in his toilet.
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Finally, some people have taken interest when I’ve mentioned some photography books that I’ve gotten. Here’s another good one. There are two new volumes out about the great 20th Century photographer Edward Steichen. The one that I have is titled Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Conde Nast Years 1923 – 1937. The photos in this book are absolutely gorgeous, mostly fashion images and portraits of well known people of the time. If you like classy and elegant images, give this book a look.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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